Pokemon Brilliant Diamond is nothing special

John Kelliher, Staff Reporter

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were released on November 19th, 2021, and as the avid Pokémon fan I am, I was waiting for Christmas day to come so I could yet again catch and train the pocket monsters of my choice into powerful adversaries for the top trainers in a given region. Contrary to my excitement and wanting to play the game, I was still wary of how good the game was going to be. The last Pokémon game I played was Pokémon Sword, and I felt that it was lackluster compared to my expectations, so coming into Brilliant Diamond all I wanted was a game that was enjoyable and fixed some of the issues of the game it is a remake of, Pokémon Diamond. 

After having played through the main game, I can say that… Brilliant Diamond is fine. I enjoyed it, and I’m going to continue playing it and trying to complete the Pokédex, but I can’t say I’m going to be singing its praises to the ends of the Earth. There are a bunch of things I like about the game, for example how they got rid of the dreaded eight HMs that were present in the original game, allowing for more freedom in the move selection for your Pokémon. I do really like the Chibi art style used, and the Underground was expanded, where you can find Pokémon that aren’t normally in the game, which adds to the experience generally. 

That’s where my full praise of the game ends, however. There are still a ton of issues with the game, from large issues like a glitchy first release that needed multiple large updates to patch to small annoyances like not being able to turn off the EXP share, a feature which can make the game comically easy at times. There are also choices that don’t seem very thought through, like still having some items that are used to evolve specific Pokemon unavailable until after the main story of the game is completed, deterring players from using those Pokemon that cannot evolve until after you have beat the Champion of the Pokemon League. The movement tracking can also be just so annoying, as instead of being able to run freely and switch to a tile by tile movement when you need to carefully traverse the terrain like in previous games, there is no tile system in place meaning that precise movement is way too easy to mess up. 

Because of the issues and shortcomings of the game, I can’t say that I love this game the same way I have most other Pokemon games. I really wanted to fall in love with Brilliant Diamond. There are just some glaring issues that impede the game. I still enjoyed the experience of course, it’s not a bad game by any means. I just wish that it was better, because there are times playing where I forgot about the problems and had fun, but every time I got close to really thinking the game was great, It threw a graphics glitch at me, then I would accidentally jump over a ledge and have to retrace through a cave, and I would then get attacked by a wild Gligar, which I couldn’t evolve before beating the main story, so why would I catch one? 

Brilliant Diamond was fun, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun game with a cute art style and the iconic Pokémon turn based system. If you want a truly well made game, with a lot of thought put into the story, time taken to make sure it isn’t released unfinished, and less general issues however, I would point you away from this game. Pokémon has released 8 generations of games, and all of them are enjoyable in their own right, But with the newer installations, the expectation for the games is only going to be higher. I really wanted this game to be great. It’s not. It’s an okay game, but it should have been the best game yet. That’s why I’m disappointed.